We are all somewhat impervious to new information, preferring the beliefs in which we are already invested. We often ignore new contradictory information, actively argue against it or discount its source, all in an effort to maintain existing evaluations. Reasoning away contradictions this way is psychologically easier than revising our feelings. In this sense, our emotions color how we perceive “facts.”
The simple reality is people feel before they think. And when those feelings are strong enough, facts take a back seat.
David P. Redlawsk, professor of political science and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University.
On “motivated reasoning.”
Save your breath.
P.S. “Motivated Reasoning” would be a great name for a political blog.
Here are my own recommendations for Election Day. First of all, vote! Second, vote Democratic, wherever you are. Maybe there are some thoughtful Republicans running in your area, but this is not the year to give them a boost. In New York, that means:
- Tom DiNapoli, Comptroller. DiNapoli is a political hack who was installed as Comptroller in a backroom deal by the legislature after the corrupt Alan Hevesi was forced to resign. His Republican opponent, Harry Wilson, is considered a basically competent, effective fiscal manager of the sort who rarely runs for office, and many people think we’d be lucky to get someone with his talents to straighten out the fiscal mess in Albany. Still, this is no year to vote Republican. Support the hack Democrat, Tom DiNapoli.
You the least bit sheepish about this one?
The national races, sure. The Dems were playing defense against the GOP wave and voting down the party line was survival strategy (Well, not in New York and California, for the most part, but everywhere else).
The results of this local race, however, given the clusterfuck that is dealing with the state budget, will likely have a greater effect on most New Yorkers in the coming years than any decision the likes of a Schumer or a Weiner (aka, the most appropriately named Rep in Congress!*) will make in this current term.
* - with apologies to my roommate.
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), at her final press conference as House Speaker, January 4, 2010, four years to the day that she took the gavel in 2007 and pledged “no new deficit spending.” (via FoxNation) h/t @memorandum
The numbers tell a different story:
When the Pelosi Democrats took control of Congress on January 4, 2007, the national debt stood at $8,670,596,242,973.04. The last day of the 111th Congress and Pelosi’s Speakership on December 22, 2010 the national debt was $13,858,529,371,601.09 - a roughly $5.2 trillion increase in just four years. Furthermore, the year over year federal deficit has roughly quadrupled during Pelosi’s four years as speaker, from $342 billion in fiscal year 2007 to an estimated $1.6 trillion at the end of fiscal year 2010.
And via HotAir:
And that doesn’t actually tell the whole story, either. The last budget passed by a Republican Congress spent a total of $2.77 trillion, with a deficit just under $200 billion. Democrats took that in FY2010 — their last actual full-year budget — to over $3.8 trillion, an increase of 38% in just three budget cycles. And when the Democrats finally got around to passing pay-go in their fourth and final year in control of the House, they ended up waiving it in almost every instance afterward.
Just For Reference™
Democrats will often blame this on the continued existence of the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. However, the CBO reckons that the federal government will only get $4 trillion over the next ten years if all of the Bush tax cuts expire, as they are set to do on December 31 of this year. That ten-year revenue (which is itself highly debatable) still wouldn’t have covered all of the deficit spending Democrats did while in control of Congress in just four years. In fact, at their rate of deficit spending in three budget cycles, Democrats would add almost $15 trillion to the national debt in ten years:
Republicans in control for 12 years: Added $4.034 trillion (avg $336.17 billion per year)
Republicans in control during Bush era: Added $3.201 trillion (avg $533.5 billion per year)
Democrats in control of Congress during Bush/Obama era: Added $4.603 trillion (avg 1.48 trillion per year)
Democrats did not aim to control spending when they took control of Congress. They aimed to expand government at a historic rate, and they succeeded beyond even their wildest dreams. And what happened when Democrats finally got around to passing pay-go, more than three years later? They made more exceptions to it than bills that actually got the pay-go treatment.
This is exactly why voters can’t trust Democrats on spending, deficits, and taxes.
Again, to those that point to the Hastert years, and reprimanding, ask where the Tea Party-type/fiscal hawks were then — they were at the voting booth. When their elected representatives acted irresponsibly, the electorate called them on it.
The electorate, unsurprisingly, did the same on November 2 of last year.
The last crop of Republicans on spending: Bad.
The last crop of Democrats on spending: Worse.
The new GOP class took over (just) the House yesterday. We’ll see how they do.
I’m not holding my breath, but we’re all watching you. How ‘bout you surprise us, for a change?
That heartless asshole, Benjamin Franklin.
STRATFOR’s George Friedman on how The World Looks at Obama After the U.S. Midterm Election.
His is always rather sobering commentary, and often impossible to disagree with.
Obama comes out of this election severely weakened domestically. If he continues his trajectory, the rest of the world will perceive him as a crippled president, something he needn’t be in foreign policy matters. Obama can no longer control Congress, but he still controls foreign policy. He could emerge from this defeat as a powerful foreign policy president, acting decisively in Afghanistan and beyond. It’s not a question of what he should do, but whether he will choose to act in a significant way at all.
Read the full piece here.
And check out last week’s piece for a flesh-out on what he thinks might be Obama’s strategy for the next two years.
STRATFOR’s global team of intelligence professionals provides an audience of decision-makers and sophisticated news consumers in the U.S. and around the world with unique insights into political, economic, and military developments. The company uses human intelligence and other sources combined with powerful analysis based on geopolitics to produce penetrating explanations of world events. This independent, non-ideological content enables users not only to better understand international events, but also to reduce risks and identify opportunities in every region of the globe.
STRATFOR’s chief executive officer, Dr. George Friedman, is a widely recognized international affairs expert and author of numerous books, including The Next 100 Years (Doubleday, 2009), America’s Secret War (Doubleday, 2005), and The Future of War (Crown, 1996).
STRATFOR members include individuals, FORTUNE 100 corporations, government agencies and other organizations around the world.